mike watt and the jom & terry show
watt - thud staff, spiel
tom watson - guitar, singing
jerry trebotic - drums
w/ cobra verde
john, mark, frank, derek & ed
(left to right)
steve kaul - the man outside the van
tuesday, october 2 - lexington, ky
in the morning julia makes us some food and I try some of her homemade hot sauce and we sit and talk for a little bit before we get back on the road. it's not too far to lexington and we pull into town and find a laundrymat to do our wash. I am traveling very light so it only takes an hour or so to get it done and then we head to the club. it's a warm day but it's cool in the club and we load in and set up meet the folks who run the place. tonight we are playing with a band called speed to roam with a friend paul oldham on bass. they are from the louisville area and I've never seen them play so I am looking forward to it. after we soundcheck head next door for some food and then back to the club to wait. speed to roam shows up and I meet the band and rap with them for a while. a local band called garland buckeye is playing tonight too. before the show I see my friend brian mcmahan who is in town from l.a. to visit his family in louisville and that's a nice surprise. in a little while the doors open and speed to roam start and do their set of abstract punk rock with vocals that remind me alittle of james white. cool show. after they are done the garland buckeyes get up and play songs with squealing guitars and vocals, I watch their whole set. the people are a little late getting into the club but by the time we are set up there is a good crowd. we play good and finish up with out any big problems. at the end of the show I say goodbye to speed to roam and we get packed and head over to mike's friend dawn's place. we get set up in her basement to sleep.
I awake to the sounds of children lurking about me. their whispers are indistinguishable and I ly motionless as they hover above me. soon I here footsteps clomping upstairs so I rise. by the time I make it up the kids have left for school. julia is making breakfast and the smell is appealing. I slice myself a piece of the giant omelette and grad a couple biscuts. I see she as a jar of homemade salsa w/a label taped on that reads 'satan's semen'. I joke to mike that he should come over and open wide. he quickly snaps back at me w/a snive asshole comment. I guess his mood is a bit edgy. I take to the shower after a couple days w/o. while at the boat changing clothes mike approaches and once again says sorry for the snapout. he's a very good man and I respect him much, we'll both try to keep calm and stay curtious to one another as we should. off to lexington and lynaugs for the gig. in town we loop around for a while circling the u of k til' we get bearings. a few turns and were there. inside the place is looking like a college c & w bar. lots of monitors and a wide stage. mike's stoked w/his 5 monitor feed, and soundman joe has got it down. tom and I take the very short walk next door to the matching pub for din. mostly sandwich stuff, but the rib eye steak sand sounds tasty. afterwards I grab a newspaper and kick in the boat to read. theres an article on our tour and the reporter keeps referring to me as the bassist. whatever. I'm getting sleepy and hop in the back for a little nappy.
in my head I hear the openers as background noise to my strange dreaming w/occational burst of volume when the doors fly open. my body automatically wakes when they finish. I miss the first bands again, sleep though is a bit more important this time. I stagger in and set up the gear trying to shake out the sleep all the while. we wake mike and wait for the 1st round bell. another great show and the bands flow is grooving. I feel i'm becoming a more aware player w/my ears as well as my eyes. joe does a great job on the knobs and I make sure to thank him more than once. in the side room one of the opening bands is still hanging and loafing about. the bald cat makes some strange comments on the show and starts tossing a bag of chips(unopened)across the room. I tell em' be cool and don't make a mess pal. I grab a water and look for a place to sit as I'm feeling sorta worn from playing, but the room being small there's not much space. meanwhile these dudes got their feet up on the extra seats and see no need to offer up a chair. I ask for my shirt that one of em' is sitting on and he don't move a inch to help. come on guys, a little respect would be right. enough of them. I go to break down and meet dawn after whos an old friend of mike's from his porno days. we talk breifly and I ask if staying w/her for the night would be cool. yes! I thank her a talk a little more. she mentions the passing of her daughter recently. I inquire of how and am stunned to find it was e coil bacteria. so very sad. she's a strong woman and I feel it's good to talk of things related to such tragedy's. the healing process requires it. she speaks highly of katelyn's (the little girl) life force and contributions of her all to short life. w/a little one myself I think of the frality of one's existence. nothing can prepare anyone for this kind of loss. some girl from the crowd approaches me w/this funky alien doll w/three eyes. she has everyone pose w/it. maybe some kinda photo theme going on. I do a couple as well as mike and tom.
after packup we follow dawn to her grandma's house. were shuffeled downstairs to the basement so as not to wake grandma. I grab a couch fast and finish the beer I snagged from the club. dawn's sister hangs out w/us and we talk a bit more about dawn's daughter. she very open about what happened and I listen intently. mike talks of his near death experience w/the sickness of last year. its all so sobering. I begin to strech out and turn over to take in the dreams.
pop and soak in the tub. it's got length and makes a good fit for my legs. been a while since I've soaked. hosing off is good to rid yourself of grime, etc. but a soak does the joints right. julia gets her kids ready for school. the oldest, a boy of ten, is already asking her if he can dye his hair. whoa. she makes us an omelette kind of thing - tom calls it a "fritata" and it's real good. I do have kind of a blow-out w/jer when she produces some homemade habanero salsa and jer says he can't take but "mike can open his mouth and start pouring." I don't why on earth I would take offense to this but like an asshole, I do and won't chow w/him at the table. I wait 'til he leaves. last night I did something stupid to him too. when he tried to back the boat out to do the loadout, he was turning the wheels w/out the vehicle moving. this is hell on the power steering (all that weight on the wheels - better to have a tiny roll going while you're turning) and can burst the hoses so I open the hatch and pull him from the driver's seat. I apologized later and I do the same after chowing. I hug him and say I'm very, very sorry and promise to keep the idiot factor I manage unable to totally purge in check. jer is a really great guy and deserves much better. I can't believe these lameass behaviors raise their heads in me from time to time. it's ridiculous and makes me ashamed and embarrassed. truly, I'm sorry to you jer. he's got a good heart and forgives me. this is good but doesn't prevent me from thinking about this stupid shit I do, even if unintentionally, from time to time. there's no excuse for it.
we say bye and thanks then head east on state road 46 to meet the interstate. it's a beautiful drive through the woods and the weather is still holding up like a champ. thank you. once we hit I-65, it's south into kentucky and louisville. great view from the bridge over the ohio river of the town - usually I play here when I'm in kentucky but this time it's lexington so we turn east on I-64. at a gas stop, I get an extension for the cigarette lighter so there can be chimpin' on the 'puter now from the back bench. I also get this lighter done up as a tiny walkie-talkie, it even lights up w/"call me" when you make the flame ignite. right away, I start mocking jer w/yammering of my own. we go through some gorgeous bluegrass areas, thoroughbred horse pads and tobacco farms mainly. pretty ride, lots of eyegifts. we get into town and tom's having a hard time w/the map so it takes a little bit of blowby and loop to find _lynagh's_, where we're playing tonight. it's right by the university of kentucky (the big, straight state school) and transylvania university (this pad is old, especially for this part of the country - established in 1780!). we're in early so we decide to wash our clothes at a laundromat. good thing too cuz the soiled levis and flannels of mine are starting to ferment. after putting my shit in the washer, I go to a fast food pad to wash my hands in the head. while I'm there, an employee is pissing and when he's done, he justs bolts out the door w/out washing his hands. damn, what's that about? hope he's not kneading any dough or hand-tossing any salads.
we complete the stenchscrub task and return to the venue. I discover the little walkie-talkie gone - damn! I had it clipped to my flannel pocket and it must've gotten tossed when I picked up my bag of clothes. oh well, karma wails. you know jer is happy about this, can't blame him though - I was being an idiot w/it. the boss, bobby ray, is there and helps us load in. he's a great cat and a pleasure to work w/as is the soundman, joe. such a good thing to have for a gig, thank you. this show is actually being put on by louisville cats and billy arrives and says hi. good to see him again. after soundcheck I go to a couple of doors and chow a salad w/some chunks of chicken in it. big pieces of onion, tomato and cucumbers in it makes me feel good in the gut. I then go to the boat to konk after some diary chimp. I'm feeling a little weak, don't know why. I read an email from richard hell that he sent last night. he was born in this town and lived here 'til he was fifteen. it appears that we're playing here on the day of his birthday - what a trippy coincidence! he was my first punk rock hero and had a profound influence on me. when I put a picture of him on my bass in 1977, it was the start of a whole new way of looking at things for me - they were never the same. I too became a punk rocker. I really dug the sound of his _voidoids_ and began to re-evaluate almost everything in my life, even the things that had hardly anything to do w/music. I became curious about all kinds of things I hadn't thought of before. it was very much a turning point in my life. a couple of months ago, I was in nyc and did a gig w/lee ranaldo where we riffed on james joyce's "finnegans wake" at brownies. richard lives like a block away and invited me over. we talked about dante, poe and joyce - he even let me play his first bass. it was such a mindblow for me, the whole adventure. I would've never imagined this happening to me as a teenager in the 70s. he was very generous to me. he was a blast to be w/and I dug it much even though I was really scared, especially at first - it was almost totally a pants-shitter for me. he made me feel relaxed though and comfortable to explore thoughts w/and spiel about things. in this email I got last night, he told me he's going to richmond, virginia on a pilgrimage to check out poe stuff. he digs poe. so do I, have since I was a kid and have read all his works when I was younger.
then I konk and I'm out like three hours. I miss the first band, a louisville one called _speed to roam_ - tom knows paul, the bass guy who's one of the _palace brothers_. man, I wish I could've seen them but tour just wears me so that I have to ration my energies. I do hear the last parts of the second band, _buckeye garland_ through the bulkhead as I wake. I hear snarling guitar and driving drums, lots of lyrics too - very full. then it's our turn. the monitors are really good. so lucky, two days in a row. I can't tell you how much easier it is when you what's coming out of your fucking mouth. you can put more feeling and interpretation in it too. however, I fuck up some of the first verse of roky's "sweet honey pie" and feel like an idiot. damn. besides that though, the set is good and tight - my cats are playing cleaner than a broke dick dog and I dig it. thanks, guys. the crowd is spread out really wide in front of us and that's a trip, like you're playing an outdoor festival. they're really happening though and give us much positive feedback. w/monitors like this, it's easy to do "big train" so we go for it. it's a very happening gig all around. I tell everyone to start their own band, write their own poems and draw their own pictures - don't ask permission from the gatekeepers. someone in return yells "start your own life." I dig that.
some cats from louisville came to the gig. good to see wayne again and his friend elizabeth gives me flowers - it's a tradition of hers now. his other pal melissa is a bass cat and tells me the music school won't let her in. I say to fuck then and go on her own and find folks who do want to join in. I tell her about when I was in seventh grade and tried a music class. they put me on clarinet and after ten weeks, the teacher, mister luna, said "watt, you try hard but you just don't have it." I crawled out of that classroom. the only reason I tried music again was to be w/d. boon (his ma wanted me on bass) and this is why I am what I am now. I hope this made sense to her, you gotta find personal validation is personally expressive things. this lady, julie, has me take pictures w/her alien doll "einstein" for her www.electrictoiletbrush.com web site and tells me how the minutemen "three-way tie (for last)" record has such a big impact on her and made her think of things in the world. thank you, d. boon. a skater guy talks to me about things and I tell him how I'm inspired so by those who ride the boards. it's a trip how connections are made and how influences are traded all around. all of us, taking turns - not just the privileged few. cats from everywhere doing all kinds of things but doing them from the heart.
a couple of years ago when the pliers played in cinci, we stayed at dawn and her sisters, she used to be w/a buddy w/the porno for pyros team, teej. her and her sister have invite us again and we follow them. only a few blocks away and we're there. the boat's safe too. that's very important. we're put up in the downstairs and it's konk time on the deck after a little rap. I'm laying in the corridor to the head however and jerry almost boots my head in the pitch black dark. thank you for the carefullness, jer - much respect.
wednesday, october 3 - nashville, tn
I awaken to the sound of a woman telling mike to put on his shoes and get out. mike comes down the stairs to the basement where we are sleeping and I realize that it must be the grandmother of dawn who let us stay here last night, I guess she didn't let her grandmother know about it. anyway, we all get up and rush to get our things together until dawn comes downstairs apologizing about evrything and informs us that the coast is clear and everythings cool, so we sit down and have some coffee with dawn and talk and laugh about it a bit till it's time to go. we say goobye and start to make our way to nashville. it's a pretty drive through kentucky and into tennesee and the weather is still with us. when we pull into nashville we find our way to the end which is where we play tonight. it's still early and the club is open so we go in to sit down before loading in. jerry and I walk down the street to a diner and get some southern homestyle cooking and make it back to the club where mike is checking his e-mail. tonight we meet up with cobra verde again for five more shows together, and after our load in and sound check they pull up and load their stuff in. there is a backboard in the patio of the club and jerry and I and the soundman jody shoot some baskets for a while. after cobras soundcheck we all walk across the street to a patio restaurant to eat some more food and I see a familiar face across from me. it's an old roomate of mine when I lived in san francisco named nancy. I guess she lives here now and saw our picture in the paper and came down to say hello. what a surprise to see her here, it's been almost fifteen years, so we talk a little and I invite her to the show.
we get back to the end and soon the cobra verdes got up to play and I watch their show. it's a good turn out and everyone likes it. they play great like usual. we make the change over and kick into the set and play through pretty well even though we have monitor problems. at the end cobra verde joins us for our combined version of the red and the black and rock it out together and finish up with down on the street. after loading out we hook up with a guy named bennett to stay at his pad and he lets us sleep on his floor.
I thought this weird dream was working me over cause my bladder's full and I didn't want to get up, but it was no dream. the voice was yelling and mike was calmly attemping to manage the assault from what I would guess is grandma. "I don't know who you are!" she wailed, "I dont't allow men in my house!". mike in a soft voice asked if they could talk about it. she just wanted him out, no compromise. I'm fully awake by now and planning my bugout while mike continues to receive his lashing. I take a peek and see mike coming back down. we look at each other and agree its time to go now! tom stirs and seems oblilvious to the goings on. one look at us convinces him to get moving. just then dawn runs down and says "relax I talked to grandma and explained everything, you don't have to leave." shit, were all frayed and the ends by now. its hard to relax w/the threat of the grandmanator upstairs. but she seemed genuinely sorry and sent down some coffee and breakfast biscuts. we huddle for another hour and make light of the near disaster. humor does good w/calming nerves. I tell mike he'll have to be the first up the stairs and face his nemesis head on again. he laughs and we pack our things to head out. both tom and mike make for the door w/o a word, but I stop and talk to grandma for a minute. she's a very nice lady and once again apoligizes for the misunderstanding. dawn should tell grandma when people are staying, at least for our sake. we pack up and say bye to dawn. on the road to nashville.
on the way down to nashville we decide to stop at the corvette national museum near bowling green, ky. mike been here before but tom and I haven't. I grab the dig camara and prep for some kind vettes. many find vechicles to be found. and a surprise as a lady was presented w/a brand new vette bought by her husband. It was on display in the showroom, and I arrived as she first found out. congrats! a very happy person. back to our drive and we pull up to The End club near vanderbuilt u. a small place but rockable. after some lounge time I head to the post office to send home the pay. we get on soundscheck and soundguy jody is on it. afterwards I shoot some hoops w/tom and jody outside the club. man do I suck. takes at least ten minutes to hit a shot. same for jody as well, and he shoots everyday. john from the cobras chimes in and take a couple til' the ball ends up on the roof. he quickly scatters and i go in search of. we find the ball in the alley behind the club. good thing nobody happened by and took it. Its just us and the cobras so we'll be on earlier. after their done we take the stage. from the beginning I notice this girl in front disperately trying to get mike's attendtion. she talking all loud and writing notes leaving the em' on the monitor. I'm totally bothered by girl and can't help but have to listen to her during the soft songs. turns out she's an old sst employee and pedro chick. figures. after show has us at this cat bennett's pad. a very nice dude, even offers us his bed and the roommates too. I couldn't accept, though I do appreciate the gesture. time to sleep.
pop and hose off. damn, I forgot to bring a dry flannel so I put on the one I stenched up at last night's gig and head up stairs to get a fresh one from the boat. at the top of the stairs, dawn's grandma comes right up to me, maybe inches from my face and says, "who are you? this is my house and no men are allowed here. get out!" I'm thinking "what?" she says "get out!" I say, "we were invited here - can we get dawn and talk about this?" she replies, "no, put your shoes on and get out!" I head back down stairs and start to get my shoes. jer pops up from his bag and looks at me - I tell him we gotta git. a few minutes later, dawn comes down and says everything's ok, she forgot to leave a note for her grandma saying we were here and has explained everything. tom's up now too and we're all pretty freaked and just sit on the couches there, looking at each other and tripping. dawn brings down juice and these things that look like tiny hamburgers. they're little biscuit-like trips w/a sausage patty in them. she's embarrassed and talks w/us - lots of nervous laughter. that's life. she talks about growing up and how her grandpa put her on a thoroughbred when she was little and just let run like crazy w/her on it - a real hellride. she tells about looking at a dead possum as a little girl, it was run over and was a mommy so there were little babies all in the carcass, and one of the tons of flies on it flew up her nose and her grandpa just laughed and laughed. somehow the talk turns to my sickness, she didn't know about the surgery and all that happened to me last year so I tell her and that spiel in turn gets us to the subject of her losing her little girl, kaitlin, a little while ago. she was only seven and contacted e. coli bacteria that killed her quick. I knew this little girl. when I was helping the _porno for pyros_ cats, teej was the engineer/producer for their "god gods urge" record and played keyboards w/the band on stage on tour. kaitlin was his and dawn's daughter. a very sad thing and heart-wrenching thing this was. she was so lovable and adorable. there is a pang in me deep. love to you, little kaitlin.
I never do meet the grandma again and get up the stairs and into the boat quick. we take the blue grass parkway west to elizabethtown where I-65 will take us south to nashville. a really nice drive again, the weather is righteous and there's lots of good sights. the road is sliced right through limestone and how I wish we had time to stop to visit all these places: the daniel boone house, the maker's mark still, abe lincoln's birthplace, somewhere called "my old kentucky home," another called "kentucky down under," mammoth cave, horse cave, the diamond caverns... we do stop just north of bowling green for the corvette museum. it's right next to the factory where they build them. I've been there a few times but tom and jer haven't. not as many old ones it seems as last time I was here but still tons of 'vettes. pretty great. no split windows though - my favorite. we continue on into tennessee. we've crossed back in central time zone but hell if I'm gonna seat my watch again cuz we're just gonna cross into eastern time again tomorrow though that'll be the last time for a while. we get to the venue, _the end_, in elliston square at like two. it's right by vanderbilt university.
we meet the boss, bruce, right outside the pad. he's done my gigs since the _minutemen_ days - he's great and very happening to w/and for. we got lots of time so I hoof down the street to this store of old books, elder's, that I always check out when I'm in this neighborhood. I get two books, one's brand new, just published: "balck southerners in the confederate armies - a collection of historical accounts" (trippy subject) compiled by j.h. segars and charles kelly barrow (he also signed the title page w/"deo vindice!" - what?) and then a 1948 edition of dante's "the devine comedy," translated by lawrence grant white and w/sixtynine engravings by gustave dore. it's got all three volumes of the comedia in english blank verse but none of the italian. no matter, a great find. back to the venue and I shave in the women's head (always the cleanest place in a club). a quick soundcheck w/soundman jody (a big _sonic youth_ fan, he wants to hear the story behind my part in their song "providence" so I tell him), I get a falafel a couple doors down. falafels are good chow food, garbonzo beans are great fuel. then it's to the back of the boat to konk. I got it docked right by the front door of the club, literally.
this proves to be kind of lame. kara, this lady who lived in pedro and used to work at sst records, wakes me w/banging on the bulkhead. aaaarrrrrggggghhhh! I'm up now anyway so I go in the pad to hear the openers. _cobra verde_ has rejoined us on tour and I see the second half of their set, they're really good. at least something positive comes from kara's bumrush. I do need my pre-gig konk though. luckily I got an hour and a half in. I would've really been mad if she would've done that to me earlier. my good buddy doug rockett's here from memphis. he brought his sister karen. michelle from memphis was supposed to come too but I guess she couldn't make it. holly was supposed to bring her new baby lily to show me but she's missing too. oh well, that's the way it goes sometimes. matt from _clockhammer_ and _lambchop_ is here though, good to see him. he does bass too. it's time for us cali cats and we do our gig. tom and jer are really playing good but I'm blowing clams - not just w/some words but notes too. not that many but enough for me to berate myself inside. the monitors are really horrible. tom is clear as a bell but I sound like I got flannel stuffed in my wordhole. damn. this makes shit even tougher. still, I must carry on and hope the sound out front isn't anything like this. I trust jody. I ask the folks if they've ever heard of marcel marceau and say that's who I feel I'm impersonating. they say they can hear it clear though. that's what really counts. if it's out front, I'm happy. they worked all week and paid the money. I got in for free. the crowd has excellent spirit, thank you folks. we do everything except "big train" including "down on the street" and w/the verdes, "the red and the black." john still doesn't know that bridge part's words. after the gig, I write them down for him and explain how it's important we get that together cuz the whole band stops for us to deliver a very key "dualie" - just me and him. he says he'll be ready tomorrow night. thanks, john. after slinging, I do the business w/bruce and thank him much for everything.
a tall man on crutches, bennett, has a pad a couple blocks away and invites us. he hurt his knee (acl) doing hoops. ouch. we have him pile in and go over there. we just barely clear the roof to the underground parking lot. folks underestimate the size of this econoline when I ask them if there's a safe place to put it. not their fault - they just don't know. we need at least seven foot six of height for this baby. we get it in though, w/many cranks on the till (wheels rolling a tiny bit each time - don't want to blow those powersteering pump hoses) I get it in his space - the last one by the wall. oh boy. time to konk now. we say hi to his roomie ben, who saw the gig too and he puts tom and jer in his room, insisting one of them use his bed while he's on the deck. I'm already prone in the living room, a nice spot inbetween the couch and table. hemmed in, I won't roam all about in my state of konkedness. great!
thursday, october 4 - cincinatti, oh
we rise and say goodbaye to bennett and get in the van, mike's already there and we move out. he tells us about his walk in the park as we find the highway to ohio. it's not a long drive back through kentucky across the river into cincinatti, and we drive up some hilly rooads to the top cat club where we played last year. the club is on a main street where a couple other clubs are, one is sudsy malones that I've played a few times before too. sudsy's was always a great place to play because it's a laundymat and good for doing your tour wash. before top cat's is open jerry and I walk down the street to mike's guitar shop that has tons of vintage stuff and we look around for a while. the weather is still great and we head back to the van to wait till someone comes. we are waiting for a better parking spot in front of the club until we see cobra verde pull up right as one of the choice spots open up. damn, their good luck. minutes later the one behind them is free and we get that one. we spend time with them for a while and then the club is opened and we all load in. as you may be realizing this is our routine; drive, wait, load, wait, food, wait... so at this point we do our soundcheck and then jerry and I go for food. we decide to eat at the place that vince and I ate at last year. it's nothing special and I get a vegetable pizza and save a couple slices for after the gig.
back at the club the doors open and the first band, thistle start to play. they play loud melodic rock and I show my support and watch with some of the verde's. people are trickling in and cobra verde go on and play strong, I have watched every show we've played together and I never get tired of them. after their show we set up to our thing. their are a few real fans there and we see our friend adam who we stayed with last year. we play our set and at one point the dancing in front disconects our monitors and joe the sound man takes care of it, he does a very good job for us. at the end the verde's join us again to play the red and the black and john has been practicing and does better with the words. it's another good show and mike sells some shirts after and then we load out to head over to adam's once again. I get situated on the couch and drift off.
we get out of bennett's place early and quick for the haul to cinci. back up the same interstate from yesterday. as usual I'm napping in the back while tom and mike speak of things binga. arriving in town a little loop around is made til' we make a course change and head for harbor. w/some time to spare tom and I go over to a music shop looking for cymbal buys. lots of vintage guitars and bass stuff but old used sorta lame drum crap. bender would dig this junk. no good finds so over to this suds & rock bar for a cocktail. toma says they played here before but its having trouble making ends meet and might close. too bad, a stage and laundry mat together, great for tour! Top Cat's finally opens and we load in along w/the cobras who grab a killer parking space right in front. we waited all day for one. but luck is w/us and we hook one right behind them. nice club and owners along w/joe the soundman. after check tom and I go for some grub at a sports bar 2 blocks down. pizza plus, good for aftershow munch.
the turn out is alright and the verdes do well. I thinking about jamming w/em' soon. gotta figure out a good tune to jump in on. our set is strong and the monitors do us well. adam, a friend of mike's gives us a place to crash and I get the futon. a cat and dog occupie the apartment and have a friendly disposition. good animals this tour. the cat claws at my toes and I love it. soon its sleep time, konk.
pop and hose off early while everyone's dead konked. I go out and greet a boldly lit morning, many thanks for the continued good weather. there's a grass strip paralleling the sidewalk so that makes the hoofing easier. damn, hope bob teagan gets those shoes and pea coat that's been following around this tour like a kite tail. three fucking weeks now - damn. can't really blame anyone 'cept myself though cuz I was the fuckhead who spaced and left it in the first place. not that this is really the cause but I do slip into a funk as move my legs to pump blood through my heart and brain harder. I think about things.
I pass a newspaper machine. there's a story about some guy taking a boxcutter to a bus driver on the freeway and six people got killed in the wreck. damn. boxcutters. crazyness and boxcutters, damn. it makes me cry, I just burst out uncontrollably. keep hoofing, watt - hoof it off. I get some coffee and see a park across the street and head for that. lots of soft pad for the moccasin-like chuck taylored feet. there's a neat kind of stone sculpture. it's sort of a bow of a ship w/a metal rail. there's an emblem on the front done up u.s. eagle w/shield style. spiels must be done from here for civic stuff. I climb up on it and damn, if I don't see an eagle. like the ones we got on catalina island, off of pedro, not a bald one. three times at least bigger than a hawk though. I go back down the stairs and go up to the tree it's perched up on. it's looking around and eyeing me too. he don't bolt but after a while, moves to another tree, close. he lets me come up to that one too, I'm right under him/her. that catalina ones hve spots on the upper parts - this one doesn't. he's brown like the squirrels running around. they got white in their tail and he's got it on his chest and underparts. he flies down to another tree, real low like - the way a pelican would cruise the wave tops and goes to another tree. this happens a couple of more times and then I hear something. it's from a plastic portable toilet. I look over and can see the red indicator on the door showing it's occupied. I hear yelling and cussing, shit like, "don't you twitch, goddamn it" and other bellowings. it scares me and I take off. I don't look back cuz I don't want to see what comes out the door. damn. this freaks me out. I hoof back to bennett's apartment and get out the 'puter. damn if I didn't leave the ac cord at the club last night. idiot watt! I'll have to go to the boat to chimp. I leave tom and jer a note to my whereabouts on the table and head for the boat.
after a while, tom and jer join me and where off. around the belt circling nashville and then back up I-65, north into kentucky. we see some funny fireworks pads on the way: "sad sam's,"crazy" somebody else, etc. you always see these pads around borders w/states that allow and those who don't allow them. just inside kentucky, we stop to get sandwiches at a subway shop. lots of these are combined w/gas stations so both tanks can get filled up w/one shot. we pass back over the time zone and get lose the hour we gained yesterday. must be a trip to live around these invisible lines deciding the time. you can look right back or into what was or will be, like that umberto eco book, "the island of the day before" (that takes place actually at the date line at the antipodes. incredible book for me, has several clues I've found that coincidentally describe myself). at louisville, we turn northeast up I-71 towards ohio. we're playing _top cat's_ in cincinnati tonight.
we're in early and I sit in the boat and chimp diary while tom and jer check the music stores around. we're in the clifton part of town, by cincinatti university. I always play in this part when I'm in this town. david, the cat who was tour boss for j's last fog tour in europe comes by to say hello when the verdes show up. he's tour boss for the _moldy peaches_, who are supporting some new act from nyc. good to see him again and I hug him big time. he was living in this town before recently moving to the big apple. had to cuz his pad got burned in the riots here last spring. he tells me about reading an interview w/j where it's like word association. the say "barlow" and he says "sad." they say "plaid" and he says "pedro." me and david both laugh. we load in and do soundcheck. soundman joe is very cool and things go quick and easy, the way I like them. the boss, vicki is sick and I only see her briefly. get well.
into the boat for pre-gig konk. jer's up front konking on the back bench. parallel konks. my konk is kind of short cuz of hollering right outside the boat. it's cats that are going to show but they're missing the openers, a local called _thistle_ and the verdes. they are really loud and non-stop. must be excited for the show. I'm heavy w/thought again, like this morning. aahh, I roll around on the mat concepcion gave us in sacramento. so great she donated that to us, I dig it. I hear jer start to yammer on his walkie-talkie. finally, he bails and I go out and pick up papers on the street and dump them in the trash. I mean, there was bags of shit right in the middle of the road, damn. 11:40 comes and we can finally go on.
those cats who were outside plus some others give me a good cheer coming in, thank you. we start the gig. I break an 'e' string (the big one) in the third song. damn. I do come down on it pretty hard w/the pick and even w/months of playing w/j, I still don't have that technique really down yet. to think I did all that early _minutemen_ stuff w/a pick. then again, I did break a lot of strings then. much fewer now. I get it changed quick and we're back in the race. we had a small communication problem. I asked jer to stop when I knew the tune relied too heavily on that string and damn if he just spaced and kept rolling down the track. my goal is to get this connection w/him so we're on the same word of the same paragraph all during the set. he's getting better at though, I just gotta be patient. tom starts w/lots of energy but by halfway through, he's kind of tuckered. me too, kind of. one lame thing is the monitors go out and I think it's this cat up front and kind of say something to him and ask joe to fix things - I think the cable's been pulled. that's not the case at all however, it's really at the amp section where those loud guys have been pogoing around and accidentally hit the power button. man, I feel like a real dope. I apologize very much to the guy and mean it sincerely. I also thought he was swing the mic stand at me but later, tom tells me he was holding it back after someone pushed from behind. I say I'm sorry again to him. he's shy and I can tell he's embarrassed. fucking idiot watt, I feel real stupid. I come right up to him and personally apologize to him. the monitors are great after joe hit that button, it's much easier to the last part of the set. the verdes come on during the encore and john is still fucking up the words, even w/holding the paper w/them written on it up to his face. he just ain't got the phrasing. we'll work on it tomorrow. I tell him it's very essential we get this together. me and d. boon did this tune as young kids. it's the song I've done for the longest continuous time and it's very important to me. my bass got all out of tune when I laid it down on the stage before the encore and it sounds really bad in "down w/the bass." I apologize to the crowd and we finish up w/"what gets heard?" - after I tune it up. good set. I really dug the crowd's spirit - they were some great folks to play for. nothing jaded whatsoever. thank you, good people of cincinatti.
I sling and sign autographs and this young man comes up to the stage and tells me that his ma told him that richard hell is his father. damn! I tell him to email me and I'll get him in contact w/him. this is pretty trippy for me. I tell him that in some ways (maybe not so biological), he's my pop too, especially w/punk. what a mindblow. adam, my bass player friend from columbus who moved here a couple years ago, helps us load out and invites us to his pad, like lasat year. he's a good cat. he's got a righteous cat too at his pad, a little six month old that's incredibly friendly, curious and playful. he loves the smells around the 'puter - ain't that a trip? adam was having trouble w/his dog having separation anxieties when it was home alone but having the cat now has solved all that. I'm very happy for all of them. I'm hurting w/some soreness, my body aches from too little pre-gig konk. that's what happens. it must take like seconds before I'm out like a light when the lights are cut.
friday, october 5 - columbus, oh
in the morning we have some eggs and coffee and get some direction to a guitar center so jerry can try to get a new hi hat cymbal. we take some pictures and say goodbye to adam and make our way across town the a guitar center and I go in with jerry to buy a couple boxes of strings and goes to the drum area to look into a new cymbal. after some negotiating jerry gets his cymbal replaced free of chare and his ripped hardware bag as well. that's probobly the best guitar center experience I have ever witnessed. we see some clouds rolling in and the wind is blowing so we quickly get back on the road to columbus. the clouds follow us all the way north and when we pull up to little brother's there are some tiny drops starting to fall. the temperature is starting to fall to. it is definitely fall now. I see someone in the club and get the door open so we can sit inside till it's time to load in, and after talking with dan the club owner for a while that's what we do. after a while cobra verde shows up and we hang together till jerry and I walk to find food. on the walk back to the club the temperature feels like it drops another 10 degrees and it's damp but not raining at least. it's just the two of our bands playing tonight and the club is filling up and cobra verde sound great, maybe the best of the tour. the stage is kind of high off the floor and it's a big boxy place so their guiars sound nice and loud and the crowd really love it. after their set we do the switch and get on to play. we play a good set too and the club is packed which always helps. we do our encore with the verde's and finish up. we go to steve and amy's house for the night and I get a top bunk above jerry and go to sleep.
I awake and adam is making breakfast. the cat is trying to steal anything edible from the countertop. the food is great. I ask adam about a guitar center that might be close by. he checks and finds one about 20 min. north of town. we get there and I grab my top hi-hat cymbal in an attempt to exchange for a new one. usually a receipt is require for such a transaction, but the guy working the drum section is a firehose fan and makes things easy and smooth. I also return the new hardware bag bought before tour that ripped about 3 days ago. no charge at all! thank you cinci guitar center dudes. back on track to columbus and it looks like our weather lucks about to change. rain, yuk! I meet dan dougan the boss and he's way cool. floats tom and I some brown nut ale. a very tasty brew. check goes well and after getting our buyout we head 6 blocks away to try some japanese food. the place is totally packed so its next door for some pasta and beer. making our way back the weather gets cold fast and my stupid ass has shorts on. it must have dropped 10 deg. in 2 mins., fucking bone chilling. we make haste and nearly start a full run to beat the wind and rain. I get my pants on and wait for the verdes to go on. I crash in the back room while they play and somehow fall asleep. I wake and get mike up to flow another jam.
this show is being web casted and mike is on us to do well. I of course blow a couple clams but recover w/o missing a beat. whew! doing better to watch watt and keep shit together when in doubt. eye contact. a good job by all. pack up is done and this guy steve invites us to his house for the night. tom and I are given the sons room since he ain't home. bunkbeds! ust like when I was young. tom gets the top cause he's lighter. I'm on the bottom and can hear the creaking above all night. thought tom was gonna bust through the frame any moment. I think of kel and rilei as I received an email w/new pictures of her. so cute! food all over her face and a great big smile to boot. the love her and kel too. looks like kel's coming to cambridge on fri. yea!
pop and soak in the tub. adam rises soon and fixes us up some eggs scrambled up w/bell peppers and onions. there's bagels too. I like shoveling the non-bread chow along w/the bread chow in the same mouthfuls. I wonder out loud why this is. adam says it's cuz my ma's italian. I think about this and wonder... he drives me over to a 'puter place close by to look for a cord from the power puck to the wall, the one I donated in nashville. this store is all pc (gates style) so watt is shit out of luck. at least I can run things from the cigarette lighter when in the boat and off the battery when I'm not. I'll call jimbo in nyc tomorrow and see if he can get one in time for our show there next week.
jer has a cracked hihat symbol so we gotta get that replaced. the ride has got a crack too but that cymbal is much thicker and the crack much smaller. adam calls a "shit hard" center and a cat named mica is "ready to make a deal!" we have a little chat before bailing and adam is angry about how some bands find success w/out paying dues or cuz of hype and what not. he's looking for justice. I tell him that's the way things are and you can't let it get you down. he's been doing bass in a band here in town for a couple of years and frustrated, says he has issues w/the cats he plays w/and their work ethic or lack thereof. I tell him he just has to plow, some things have no simple recourse to remedy or are too much out of your hands to receive your wrangling anyway. what you do have your hands on is your bass, so work it - w/this crew or another - find a resonance sympathetic to the chord you're humming along to. I can't see any other way to manage it and still be productive and positive. this is what the years have taught me. I hope some of it makes sense to him.
we say bye and head northwest a bit to mall land. tom and jer hit the store while I chimp in the boat. tom gets back first and has two boxes of strings. changing them before every gig has pretty his broken strings in the set dilemma. jer has success too, even more than he planned. he's getting the hihat cymbal replaced and the hardware bag that's fallen apart - both under warranty. great. we're back on the belt and rolling northeast on the I-71 towards columbus. a big tail wind allows me to hardly have to use the accelerator at all, damn. we're parked at the _little brothers_ side load in door, where we're playing tonight, by three. only two hours needed of interstate sailing. the boss, dan, is the happy to see me, alert and full of thoughts. he tells me a poem he just wrote and I ask him to write it down for me, here it is:
woke up this morning 9-11
trying to get my day in focus
radio said that the pentagon got bombed
and I thought, "oh well, good day in hell"
then the better half
screamed from her computer room,
"oh no, the world trade towers have collapsed!"
knowing that her father and stepmom work in the apple,
it suddenly hit home,
time to write a poem
"oh my god, mother mary, gaia, isis ra
what we let our gov't do,
was the reason for what we saw!"
a wise man once observed:
"he that sows his seed on the wind
shall inherent the whirlwind"
so batten the hatches, mates
it's a wicked wind that has begun to blow
pax, peace, shalom, salaam
not over yet
- dan dougan
we talk about baseball and how digs the new giant's pad in s.f. you can watch the game for free if you stand by the water in this one area - "what a knothole that is," he says. he talks about his hero roberto clemente too and how he got no justice, especially from the press. always good to talk w/dan. he says there's no more _scrawl_ but there is a _marcy mays experience_. sue's stopped playing bass. drummer dana's moved to sweden to fix motorcycles. two of the _gaunt_ cats, hans and stu, show up and say they only play instrumental behind films when they play at all now. tira had a baby from a cat in the _jive turkeys_. news from columbus.
I go down the street a bit to the old dinner I usually chow at and have liver and onions. that's it, just liver and onions. I need that from time to time on tour. I get back and we do a quick soundcheck w/soundman bill. he's good and it's easy. I code up the last week's diary and put it up on the web. tonight is the first live webcast of the tour so I let folks know about that. wish I had the link earlier to give everyone more time but at least I got the next ones now and can provide more warning. then it's to the boat for konk. rain's started coming down and I gotta use the minus twenty bag to stay warm. here comes non-cali autumn. at least they'll be some bright leaves for eyegifts.
I get a knock on the hatch that has me pop. it's deb, who I last saw when I popped from konking after the chicago gig w/j last spring. she's on a tour showing potential buyers land rover suvs and was in dayton and wanted to come over. I get out of the bag and we have a spiel in the boat while you can hear the verdes through the bulkheads from the club. it's a trip to find out she lived w/mark pauline. this guy builds machines that destroy themselves and are quite intense art pieces in themselves. he blew off fingers from one hand so had a couple of his toes sewed on to compensate. he's part of that re/search thing in the bay area of nor cal. she knows a lot of texas people I know too from the old days. spiel from me about pedro too, then it's time for the j & t show to play.
the monitors are great - thank you, bill. the folks have a buoyant energy and that's great to feed off. I put on three new strings to join the new one I had to put on last night so there's no snap fear in me and I dig in hard. I feel we play good as a band tonight, I'm very proud of tom and jer. we kind of stink up the ending to "she don't know why I'm here" (been doing that the last couple of gigs - we gotta work that out at soundcheck tomorrow) and jer clams up on a stumblebum in the dick hell song but overall I dig what we do. good set. the stage here's always been funky - damn, if the 'e' notes don't just jump out like motherfuckers cuz of an inherent resonance and I do feel like I'm coimng out of a cake cuz there's no sides to it but no matter - this is my favorite time ever playing here. we bring the verdes on for encore and I make sure mark plays his tom drum up front and not hid in the back. john does better in the bridge, the best he's done all tour but the cat's still gotta get things more together. I want him to do the fifth above me and phrase shit better. I told him at soundcheck, "in his autobiography, miles says he dug sinatra cuz of his phrasing - it helped on trumpet." I tell him it'll help our dueley here at the most critical juncture of the b.o.c. tune. means a lot to a man who started playing this song w/d. boon when he was fourteen and have been doing it for folks ever since. even though I didn't write it, it's sort of like my legacy. we do "down on the streets" and have john do "stun guitar" on that one too. he's great.
gig done, sling and say bye to dan. bye, brother. steve, a cat who ran on stage in boston during my fIREHOSE days, took my dino hat j gave me and then returned it two years later when he saw me play in cinci, invites us over. we follow him and his girl amy to his pad and he's got two righteous cats, one is obsessed w/playing w/this tiny rubber snake. damn. deb comes over w/a friend of theirs named steve and they want to hear stories from my past. I feel like I'm bogarting and tell them that but they want to hear them. after an hour though, the adrenaline has rushed out of me and I can't go anymore. I get in my bag and don the mask. this pretty much is taken as a signal for time to bail and lights out. I don't really notice cuz the mask keeps everything from my eye holes. the last thing I remeber is not being able to remember what I last remembered. the power of a little mota. thanks steve and amy.
saturday, october 6 - detroit, mi
steve is making some food for us and get a cup of coffee and talk with amy and him about boston, which is where they're from for a while and then eat the blueberry waffles he made. the sun is out but it's still very chilly outside. we are playing in detroit tonight and it's about a 4 hour drive so we are on the road by 11. when we get into town we drive through the old downtown area that has all the big old buidings boarded up and like it has been evacuated from some kind of holocaost. we pass by the old tiger's stadium and then through greek town where the st.andrew's club is. we park in a lot nearby to wait to load and jerry and I walk over to the casino that's right here in the middle of town. it's just good to get out of the cold for a while. jerry likes to gamble sometimes but I'm not really the gambling type. I watch jerry play some black jack and he loses a few hands before he decides to try the slot machines. things aren't going jerry's way so we walk over to watch a band play on a little stage and jerry tries the video poker and loses again. swe laugh about it though and then I try a couple hands and I spend 2 dollars and I win 24! so I quit while I'm ahead. we head back over to where the van is sit with mike for a while until we check the club again and see that megadeath is playing directly upstairs from us in the big st. andrews hall above the shelter club. there are two tour buses and a semi. the cobra verde's are already loaded in so we get the van in back and open the back door to load down into the shelter. it's kind of an early gig tonight, it's just cobra verde and us and we are supposed to go on at 10. megadeath is soundchecking and they are very loud of course. we see our friend bob teagan whose house we stay at when we come through and chris and mel too. before the show starts the the doors to the upstairs gig are opened and the crowd of metalheads are funneled downstairs into our club space and for about a half an hour it's jammed with puzzeled megadeath fans. I guess they aren't ready upstairs yet. soon they let them out and things get back to normal and cobra verde start their show to a good crowd. when we get up and start our show we can hear the massive metal seaping through the floor even while we're playing. we push on through anyway but during the softer songs the noise from above is ridiculous, it sounds like the roof is going to cave in. we get to the end and verde comes on to do the encore with us and then we're done. we find out later that we were forced to be turned down by the singer upstairs, man what a joke, like our little band can come close to the volume of their wall of stacks. typical rock-ego crap. still it was a fun show and our audience was great and the people at the club did a good job so it's still a good gig. we get our stuff in the van and wait for bob t. to follow him back to his house in the suburbs. when we get to his place everyone sits in the living room to watch some videos bob has shot but I go up to a little room a hit the sack on one of the beds.
man is it cold this morning w/the blow-by from the storm last night. I bundle up thick and can't wait to get my jacket tonight at bob teagan's. he sent word that the package arrived thurs.. the drive is very windy and mike has his hands full w/wrestling the boat. not a bad drive as we go north over the upper ohio plains. as detroit comes into view I notice the rundown buildings all around. looks like an abandoned city of some third world country. but as we close on the club neighborhood the area has a renued cover. just across the street is the greektown casino, named after the hood. I convince tom to join me in a gambling junket. besides its heated inside and I'm cold and bored. I tell myself I'll only lose a hundred bucks if things go bad. well they go worst. I drop 75 in the first three hands of blackjack and another forty at a one armed bandit. I totally suck. but I ain't finished yet, about 30 at another bj table and I'm broke. what a dumb ass. no more dough til' mike pays me again. oh well, lie and learn.
tonight were at st. andrews, a club w/two rooms. downstairs is the basement and thats for us. upstairs is the big room and megadeth occupies that stage. the mullets are already lining up in the cold waiting for some dirt metal shit. I meet up w/mike naylors' cuz joe and his employees ken and penny. we grab a bite next door in a small tavern and talk about his guitar co. Reverend. good gear. coming back after some soup I spot dave mustange at the door to the basement. I avoid any conversation but joe raps quick w/em'. the cobras go on and I pay close attendtion to the tunes, maybe a jam tomorrow w/the boys is in order. its early and I set up fast to get going before megashit starts. not two minutes in they begin the sonic assult from above. fuck are they loud. the bass is rumbling through the wall and shaking the light bars around my head. this will be tough. as our show moves foward the sounds for the big room get bigger. and ours gets smaller. you see they started complaining when our little punk band could be heard during their breaks. I doubt very much we could be heard when they played. but they sent word down for the house to turn us down or they'll stop their show. posers! all I could hear during our little songs was fucking bass bambam blowing down upon us, but once again we perservered. mike tells me that the settle up at the end of the night had himself and a production dude from megeshit eyeballing eachother. all mike said is that "I have diaries I write and they go up on the net". enough said.
we pack up and move out to bob teagan's house in the burbs. he's a video taping madman and has tapes everywhere. his viewing room holds a mammoth tv and about twenty remotes for the multitudes of vcr's. we watch some cool vid's of bands I sorry to say I can't remember, cept' sonic youth. after some tea and mota I retire for the evening. kel get called then I collapse.
pop and go for a tub soak. whoa, takes like fifteen minutes to fill. steve and amy's tub is like the one I had in my pad on 14th street in pedro - lived there nine years before moving into the one I have now on 23rd about seven years ago - only had one room besides a kitchen and a head. the tub was a stand-alone and had the same kind of feet. in fact, steve rigged a pipe thing from the roof to hold up a shower curtain setup - the same thing I did for kira when she moved in w/me. this brings back a flood of memories while I sat there, waiting for the water to fill. our curtain was plain though and they got cats all over there's. righteous. I go back downstairs and find steve getting ready to fix up chow. he's a cook and a bbq pad and says he's had pork sandwiches thritytwo days in a row. whoa! this morning, he's making us eggs and waffles w/vegetarian sausage. I just have the eggs and sausage. jer teaches steve how to poach eggs w/the microwave. a neighbor brings in their ten year old, jordan, and he films us as we take leave. these are some great folks - thank you.
the sun is back out and lighting up things bright but the temp is still pretty chilly. at least no rain. I can handle the cold better, especially knowing bob teagan's got the package w/my pea coat and new chucks waiting for me when we go to his pad tonight to konk after the gig. we're taking us-23 out of the north of town and linking w/the interstate at findlay. I like to stay of interstates for lots of reasons but to do that this morning would have us go way west to dayton first. this road turns out to be almost like an interstate once we clear the towns north of columbus, four lane divided road. then north on I-75, through toledo and on to detroit. going into toledo, we pass that big mosque you always see coming this way. pretty building, hope folks still have respect for it even w/all the crazy shit that's been going on. we cross the border into michagan and tom's working the street atlas software on the ibook 'puter and is still having trouble w/the navigating. he's getting better though and will master it the more he uses it. we get a little lost and almost end up on the ambassador bridge to canada but ultimately prevail into getting to _st. andrews hall_ in the greektown part of detroit. we're here early (the way I dig it) and there's a casino across the street. tom and jer head for that while I go by the venue to some old tavern called the "sweet water" and chow some pork chops and green beans. they're good.
I come back to the boat to chimp diary and when I'm done, go to the office of the club. we're actually playing in the downstairs, called _the shelter_ while _megadeath_ is playing upstairs in the main hall. two big tour busses and a semi are parked out front. no, that's not for our gear. in the office, there's like fifty pounds of chow, most of it donuts and cookies and stuff like that for "production." we're not talking about the band, even. here's the top-heavy part of rock and roll I have nothing to do w/and am not ashamed of it. the bloat. it's not just this band, it's the whole system, the whole mentality. I guess it's what some people want to believe in so they make it happen. whatever, parallel universes as far as I'm concerned. just don't fuck w/my world too much, ok? the people who work at this pad are very nice. julie helps me get the 'puter to a phone line and some other cats talk to me about old punk days. they're young and are curious. one's reading that michael azerrad book, "our band could be your life" and asks about stuff in that. there's one cat that's older and he wants a backwoods from me. these are some nice folks. amid all these wardrobe cases and "production" too. the contrast is hysterical. I call ron asheton in ann arbor and leave a plea on his answering machine to come on down and jam tonight. maybe he's not home. damn. niagra's got a cover story in the weekly. she's doing art now, litchenstein-like stuff. she used to be in _destroy all monsters_ w/ron in the 80s.
we do a soundcheck w/soundman jay and that's done quick. the verdes show up chock-full of jokes where the mix _rolling stones_ song titles w/shovelling themes, like "nutritional rescue," "get your ho-hos out" and "can you hear me chowin'?" pretty funny. dan the man from toledo w/both his friends named jay - it's great to see him again. he's a big cat, used to play hoops. he's a teacher now and writes poetry. we talk about beefheart and alex harvey for a while. then it's time for me to hit the hay and I'm soon in the back of the boat. thank god I got this minus twenty bag cuz it's colder than a witches tit in a brass bra. no rain though and I'm grateful for that.
hours later, some pounds on the hatch. it's dan to roust me for the gig. I get my slingin' sack and head on over. bob teagan's filming the show and chris rhees w/his bud greg are recording it. I get ready and can't help but notice the rumble from the roof. I mean this shit is loud, sounds like garbage trucks just wailing over lose gratings, big time. damn, I thought the were going on at 10:15, fifteen minutes after us so we'd get a least some tunes out there unmolested. not to be. the first six or so songs sound good but then I can tell jay has had to turn shit down. and then down again. damn, what's this about? I mean tom's got a fender twin on a chair and those guys have a semi-truck full of arena rock props. how could we be upsetting there sound? as for what they're doing to our gig, you wouldn't believe it. it's almost impossible to focus and concentrate when then rumble carpeting everything w/the same drone. sounds like they're playing the same song over and over w/one dynamic, din. we not asking them to turn down, we're dealing w/it, what's up w/them? you can imagine what "walking the cow" and "chinese firedrill" have to go through - it's pure mime. tom appears to me as a mouth that can only move. in a way, it's funny as hell - it couldn't been scripted better for a satire. we've been carpet bombed the way most radio and television is w/ads except imagining them running not just during the breaks but during the programs and music as well. I go upstairs to the office and there's some sort of rock bureaucrat there. I make a little spiel, a short one but I make sure he hears it. I ask, "what's up w/the little punk band downstairs having to turn down, even though they're being rolled over by someone much louder? where's the respect there, where's the justice? well, I got one thing - I got a diary that goes up on the web." that's all I say and sit there and wait for this guy to gather his rock accessories and leave. the folks who work here start to apologize but I tell them not to worry - I know who ordered it and know they are no way to blame. I said that spiel so that guy could hear it and maybe get it back to the ones who need to hear it. I could go on for ten thousand words here about this and what it shows about what's up w/the machine and the puppets that hide under it's skirt. do you really have to have me tell you why I became a punk rocker twentyfive years ago? this con has been going on for a long time and probably always will. the worker cats are embarrassed for the whole scene. I tell them not to feel bad, in fact, I say something I tell myself all the time when this sort of thing happens: "if you want to be a good farmer, use a lot of manure." keep it coming, motherfuckers.
we load up the boat. I got a couple of homegrown habaneros from a cat after the gig and chomp one down. kelly from michigan comes w/her friend bernie and she gives tom some mota. zwolf, an old friend from here comes by the boat as I readying her to leave and apologizes for being next door w/friends cuz he didn't know the show was that early. don't worry zwolf, I'll be back in the spring. watt will always keep coming back, no matter how many times he gets knocked down. either that or go down swinging. chris and his girl mel and greg follow the ride w/dan and the two jays, who's following me following bob up to the 'burbs in fraser where he lives. it's a fun ride following bob; first ninety then thirty then ninety. I try to just stay at the speed limit and give him plenty of cushion in between. when we get where we're going, it's the ritual I always have when I come to konk here: watch the video of tenko play her song w/the wild guitar and then that great one of _the gorries_. bob also plays a lie show of richard hell w/thurston, don flemming and steve shelley - the _dim stars_ at some benefit in nyc from maybe ten years ago. everyone's smoking like chimneys. ryan gives me some "melinda's" hot sauce, a type of there's I've never had and some fugazi gigs on cd. greg has some great jerkey too. mel cuts up some pear slices, mmm. I go out to get a dry flannel. dan gives me a book of poems from james wright called "above the water." big hug and thanks to the big man. then I'm back to the couch, where I always konk at bob's and ask ryan to please move down a little so I can prepare to konk. the mask down is a signal to everyone that tonight's coming to a close. I can't tell when the lights get switched off cuz it's already dark for me where my eyes are.
sunday, october 7 - cleveland heights, oh
I wake up and go down stairs and sit with mike and bob and have some tea. bob is taking off for new york this morning so he's all ready to go. the rest of us are just getting it together with showers and stuff. we say goodbye to chris and mel and greg and start rolling towards cleveland where we play the grog shop again. it's a little drie south from detroit across the border itno ohio and on the turnpike. when we pull into town it's clear but very chilly outside and the local patrons sitting in the grog shop this afternoon are huddled at the bar watching their beloved browns playing on tv. the game is close and jerry and I watch a little until we decide to get something to eat at a mexican place up the street. I get a burrito and it's not bad for being so far away from mexico. when we get back to the bar the browns are on top and they hold on to win the game so everyone is excited about that. there's still a little time before the soundman comes so we just load in and wait until then. we are playing our last show with cobra verde tonight and this is their home so we're looking forward to a fun last show together. sed and frank show up and then derek and we rap a while till mark and john show up too. we do our sound check and for some reason the club wont let the cobra verde's soundcheck too, which is strange. anyhow there is an opening band called prole art threat playing too and ed who plaays bass in cobra verde now also plays in that band. hhe's a busy man and I watch their sound check and they do a cover of the minutemen's, bob dylan wrote propoganda songs. they do some scratchy minimal post art punk songs with funny start/stop timings and vocals that remind me a little of mark e. smith of the fall. it's not long until the show starts and the club fills up and the after the prole art threat play ed moves his bass amp across the stage to the other side to play with cobra verde and the rest of the band fills in the stage. john was saying earlier that his stomach was bothering him so I hope he feels okay for the show. they are set up and mark wails the drums at the start of the set and they all sound in good form. I watch the whole show and the crowd digs it and it's kind of sad to know it's the last time I'll see them play for a while. when we go up to play we just plow through the set and at the end jimmy zero gets up to play down on the street and revolution part 2 on guitar with us. it's a blast and then cobra verde gets on for our last red and the black together, and at one point we have nine people on stage. after we finish we get our things together and get some group photos on the stage of the grog shop and then head over to jimmy and lisa's place for the night. it's warm inside which is nice because it's cold outside, and jimmy makes us some chili before we go to sleep.
I awake to find bob's pals already hitting the mota hard. not for me thank you. I get a cup of tea and leave a couple bags for whoever. bob's gone to n.y. to catch a sonic youth show to benefit victims of the wtc scene. we'll see him at the mercury lounge on wed.. its about 3 1/2 hours to cleveland and the last show w/the cobras. I hope to jam w/em' tonight. maybe the bongos will work good for it. being sunday I've got a chance to watch some nfl w/most of the afternoon off. inside the grog shop, tonight's venue, a horde of brown's fans has gathered for what I expect to be a good stomping by the san diego chargers. but the brown's are making a go of it and showing some nads. w/the game close I choose to hit up a buritto place 1 block down. maybe I'll get back in time to watch them pull one out. after chow tom and I return to see that the brown's are up by a td. their fans are livid and doubleing up on the cocktails. I guess its rare to have something to celebrate w/this football team, gotta take advantage of the opening. they won, though I think short lived. the brown's suck, what can I say. finally its 6 and sound check goes fast. I rap w/ed from the cobras and talk about going to cali. maybe in the spring or summer? who knows. his other band proletarian art threat will open tonight. that a full night for him.
no nap before this show cause ed's band is suppose to rock. I'm not disappointed w/the jams. they have a Helmetesque thing going, but it sounds cool. their drummer has great chops. next the verdes are up and I talk to john just before and say I'll jam the bongos. he'll signal me up when its time for my shaming. I'm a bit nervous but the tunes are familiar and all should go fine. after jamming the first tune john asked if I'd play another, great! it cruises w/some nice flow and I enjoy my chance to rock up w/the boys. next time I'll do it at more shows. Its our turn again and w/all the amps on stage space is at a premium. we start good though I fell I could have been more tighter. then In the middle of the set I get a bad rebound from a cymbal and wack the stick tip square in the eye. that fuckin hurt. I let out a dying wail and continued to play, can't be a wussy and blow the tune. later down the set mike invites his pal jimmy zero from the deadboys to join us. he plays a couple tunes including down on the street and the red and the black. were also joined for the last time by the verdes. Its a full rockestra jamout w/no room to spare. jimmy rocks hard! I enjoy the good sounds though my eye is starting to swell up as we finish just in time. I take a look in the can at my wound and think to myself what an ass. gotta watch the control thing.
back at jimmy's for the night and he offers up some chile which I gracitiously decline, but mike and tom eagerly dig in. jimmy tells us a couple stories about former bandmates and updates us as to what been going on in lives. he's been at it since the early seventies and still works it today. it gives me lots of inspiration to strive forward and persue more music adventures. I find an empty floor space in the computer room and bed down for the night. can't wait til' the next time I see cobra verde, their a great band. later guys.
pop and find bob up too. he's flying to nyc soon and will film the sonics and us in the coming week. even though I was the first to pop, I make a mistake and don't immediately hose off or soak. w/all the folks who konked here last night, by the time it's my turn there's no hot water. oh well, hosing off tueton style. brrr! being sunday, I call my ma and tell we're doing good and are healthy. outside, even though it's chilly I'm feeling very grateful the sun's out and bright. some clouds up but mostly blue above. we're in the boat and I take us south through the 'burbs, downtown detroit, into ohio and toledo, then a hard port and onto the ohio turnpike, east to cleveland. I've done all the driving since omaha, the wheel's vibrations on my joints is very soothing. good navigating by tom gets us to the _grog shop_ in cleveland heights at three. we luck out and get a spot to park right in front of the pad. alright!
I get a salad at non-mexican mexican-like chow pad. they put in the grilled veggies they use for fajitas and salsa w/habanero too. black beans also so it's like a whole meal. I dig it and five bucks even. then across the road to a book store and I get three tomes. one's mark musa's "the portable dante" (cuz it's got "vita nuova" - richard hell told me he really digs it), "teachings of rumi - the masnavi" abridged and translated by e.h. whinfield (a sufi poet born almost eight hundred years ago in afghanistan who spent fortythree years writing this work) and "the anarchist" by daniel a. coleman (a "novel of psychological exploration," involving the real life shooter of president mckinley a hundred years ago, leon czolgosz). I then go back to the boat to chimp. after I finish yesterday's entry, I konk w/the 'puter in my lap. damn.
I get woke by john pounding on the hatch. he's got some slippery elm pills and throatcoat tea for me and tom. thank you much, john. ryan, who's come w/chris & company to record, has me sign his bass. I find out he's just twentytwo, damn - the same age I was when we started the _minutemen_ back in '80. he's the cat running the watt list now on the net. I hope he works his four string well. he tells me he's got a five string too but what do I know about them? kathy, the grog boss comes by tells me rashid, the cat behind the bar has brought me "the hottest salsa ever." I try it out in the backroom. damn, do people have different ideas of "hot." this wouldn't get a spark lit in a raging furnace. good flavor though. I thank rashid for having his buddy fix this up for us still. uncle ray does show up w/some blister potion. it's the "dave's insanity sauce" and this livens up rashid's mix a notch. he also tells me we're at war, the bombing started and one this afternoon. damn, why a sunday? I guess some folks are really trying to make it a "holy" war. I feel sad in my heart. uncle ray though gladdens it some w/that same dante book I got in nashville w/the dore engravings but in much better shape - great, even though it was printed in 1948. I'll give it to elizabeth for her birthday in nyc. she's thirtythree on tuesday. thank you so much, uncle ray. he also gives me a razor - thanks for that too. this man is my guradian angel, I love him.
mike, the regular soundman isn't here and some new cat, scott is taking over for him. a quick soundcheck - well, a little longer cuz we do the ending to that _last_ tune we do a few times to get it better. we nail it pretty good, I think I was the one fucking things up. I'm still really tired and get to the boat. on the way though, I hear the openers, locals named _art prole threat_ (they got the verde's ed on bass) do a check and they got a great version of the _minutemen_ tune, "bob dylan wrote propaganda songs." thank you very much, gentlemen. then into the back of the boat and into the minus twenty bag. I'm out for almost three hours before getting rousted by jer. I grab the sling sack and head for the pad.
our set is really good. scott does good w/the monitors and that helps me out big time. wasco is right starboard of me, sitting on a woofer box, urging me on. thank you wasco, you're a true brother. tom and jer play like champs, they're really cooking. I'm doing ok too. before the last tune, we bring on jimmy zero from _the dead boys_ to do "down on the streets." he's great though there's no mic on his amp so I take the one on mine and move it over to his. we keep him on for the bh's "revolution (part two)" and then the first tune of the encore, "funkier than a mousquita's tweeter," a tune we never use guitar on (tom works the bongos). the verdes join us one more time (it's their last gig w/us) for the b.o.c. tune - jimmy stays on too. mel's been taking shots of the whole gig, the first ones of us playing this tour. a great gig, thanks everyone.
jimmy invites us to konk at his and lisa's pad about ten minutes away. I thank all the verdes and tell them to get ready for another blast in the spring. john conveys his anger at the spin that's getting "reported" about the war already. he writes for a newspaper here and really bums on what he calls "the stifling of intellectual inquiry" coming down. things are turning to "mouthpieceism." I concur w/him but tell him to take heart cuz that's all us tiny cats w/intense dreams can do maybe right now. the good thing is they ain't got far to drive tonight - they live in this town. we get to jimmy's and he's serves us some chili he's cooked up that's got potatoes in it. really good. somehow, we get to talking about zion and bryce canyon and damn if lisa ain't adventured there and took pictures. jer scowers each shot in the photo album, they're gorgeous. jimmy and lisa got two righteous cats, big 'uns and very friendly - you can tell they tie on the feedbag cuz of their "bells" (georgie slang for spherical tummies). time to konk. I'm on the couch in the living room alone (hardware floors) w/a fire going (jimmy put a log in the fireplace) and my mind races w/the eyes under the mask for a while. why this happens I don't know except for maybe adrenaline playing itself out. they're trippy thoughts, bouncing all over and finally I get bounced into sleeptown - my internal wondering finally skids to a stop. grazie dio.
monday, october 8 - pittsburgh, pa
when we get up jimmy and lisa are making some food and I sit down and eat and talk, say goodbye and then we get in the van. it's not too far to pittsburgh and we pull into town around 3 and pull up next to the club and wait. I remember playing here last year with bargain music and sleeping in the little band room for the night. the 31st st. pub is a little shoebox bar with a tight stage but the people are cool and it's a good town, and tonight we are starting to play a few shows with ed crawfords band, grand national. mike and I walk down the street to a diner called mama rosa's & daughter for a sandwich and then back to the club. after a little while grand national pull up behind us and we greet them, ed, jenny and laura. soon after that the bar owner, joel shows up and we load in. after soundchecking we all do our own things for a while. ed's brother kelly lives in town here and they all go eat somewhere and then jerry and I walk down the road to an italian place for some pasta. when we get back the club is filling up and then grand national plays. it's great to see ed playing again and laura pounds the drums and jenny on bass and vocals fills it out. it's a fun show and then we get on and do our set and call ed up to play on walking the cow and the red and the black. it's cool to play with ed up there, it makes the show a lot of fun. he comes up again and plays a couple encore songs with us too and then we're done. we hang out and talk with the people there and then load out, and we are offered a place to sleep at amber and davids house that's alittle outside of town and I bring my pad down to the basement and sleep.
jimmy and his lady lisa cook us some breakfast and chat a bit w/mike before we venture off once again. not a bad drive today, only 3 1/2 hours. I take position shotgun and use the digcam for some nice shots. it gets more woodsie the more east we travel and the colors are becoming quite contrasting and brilliant. I know the new england states will show even more of a spectical. into pitt. we ride and the club tonight is 31st st. pub. this is also the first show w/grand national, ed from ohio's band. I can't wait to see em'. w/tons of time til' loadin I take a very short walk to mama rosa's cafe and go looking forice cream. mike tells me the last time in pitt he ate here and the mama and daughter had a big blowout while he chowed. the daughter threatened to sell the house and bail out. I guess it was just talk since the daughter was in today. I ordered an ice cream soda and had to use pepsi instead of 7 up. I don't like to drink anything w/caffeine, not coffee, soda, red bullshit, anything! so this is rare. but its good so I want it. their ice cream is homemade and very very tasty. I thank em' and return to the boat. nappings the plan for the next hour til' mike wakes me when ed arrives. I meet the band that includes ed on guitar and vox, laura on drums, and jenny on bass and vox. the stage is small for even us but we'll manage fine. soundcheck is alright but the sound guys set up on the kit is a bit weak. no tom mike, just one on bass drum, one on the floor and one in between the snare and hi hat. he tells me "don't worry it'll be alright, I've done this a thousand times". when I hear a dude say this I start to worry.
only two bands for this one til' tomorrow when the urchins return for 12 more shows. afterr din tom and I grab a beer and watch g.n. do a great set. I really enjoy ed's guitar work. lots of chord bends and twangy tonal riffs. I wish I could play like him. my guitar skills are just plain suckass. I never could fully grasp the feel for string instruments, but I still try. jenny and ed sing great together and laura keeps a solid back beat that bonds the unit. I love em'. time again for the show and its tight w/little room to spare. our set goes great and mike invites ed to join us for 5 tunes. the crowd is thrilled as is me. we do the tunes mike and ed played together in firehose. walking the cow, the red and the black, revolution pt.2, down w/the bass, and what gets heard. wow that was fun! another six shows for this thing to go.
a kind lady named amber welcomes us to stay w/her and husband david in a burb pad 20 min. north. some cat gives mike a spice jar full of mota and I decide to indulge a tad. can't take it in the boat so we use what can and leave the rest for our hosts. tom and I take refuge in the basement playroom of their daughter. I find a toy megaphone w/an alien voice alterator, and keep it close for a bit of fun w/tom. as the lights go out the alien jer makes his entrance and tom is amused. its goood to end the night w/a laugh.
pop and get a good soak, jimmy and lisa have one long tub here, the longest of the tour. no bends in knee here! they both cook us up some eggs and sausage patties, really good. jimmy shows us the guitar he played w/us last night. it's a handmade beauty name a "powar," made here in cleveland. channeled out and really light, it has an amazing gold flake finish. we then sit around the table and listen to lisa's travels (huge dunes in michigan and incredible sights in alberta, canada) and then jimmy's stories of the old punk days w/the _dead boys_ and those times. they're incredible, he says something about writing a book and I most certainly think he should. some funny, funnyass stories. I guess stiv had a fifteen pound dick. this on a guy who was five foot five and ninetyeight pounds! there was this mom and pop at a train station, sending their little girl off on a train jimmy and stiv were on and when the train passed these folks at like two miles an hour, who were tearfully waving goodbye from the platform, stiv hung his bare ass out the window and draped everything else over the sill (he's got that much). jimmy said the faces on these peeps change slowly from emotion and sentiment to sheer horror and the pop looked like he was gonna give way and chase the train. loads of stories like that - funny, funny stuff. he says that cb scene was something else, you could find william s. burroughs sitting there, all kinds of interesting people. he said there were just two places you could play, cbgbs and max's. that's it. it was still wild though and incredible. he said their band got blamed for wrecking it and "bringing in the tourists." whatever, I would sure like to read that book if ever writes it.
many thanks to jimmy and lisa, righteous people and then were in the boat and heading southeast to pittsburgh. more incredible sun, even w/a little chill in the air. the trees are coming out now w/their brillance: reds, yellow, oranges, oh my good - tons of eyegifts. fall in the east is surreal. we have to navigate many shorter lengths of freeways 'til we get back on that ohio turnpike and eastward. easy drive though, like two and a half hours. one weird thing though. I don't speed, I keep the boat right at what's posted to be legal. a few times though, when we pass a state trooper pulled over and aiming the radar gun, he pulls out after we pass. each time I see his right hand go down to what's probably a terminal keyboard. our plate number is getting run through their 'puters. one time the hombre car even puts on his lights and I'm thinking we're getting pulled over but after a few minutes he pulls over to the inside shoulder and shuts the lights off. what I'm thinking is profiling, a result of this current climate. whatever, we have nothing to hide, just want to work the towns w/tunes. we hit the I-76 and then across the border into pennsylvania. pittsburgh is a beautiful town, laid across three rivers w/tons of bridges. right over the 31st street bridge is where we're playing tonight, the _31st street pub_, a pad I first played last year. it's run by a good cat named joel but he's nowhere around - the pad is locked up. me and tom go to the end of the block to "moma rosa and daughter's" - I chowed here last time when "daughter" had her ma on the phone and was telling her she was selling the house and bailing for good. it was so intense it made me shudder and chow really fast so I could bail quick. this time there's no ma and just "daughter" again. I get something call a "steak salad," then slices of beef, gyro style, on top of french fries that are on top of a salad - what a medley! tastes good though. tom chows a b.l.t.
we go back to the boat after and who pulls up in his own boat? ed fROMOHIO! yes! great to see edward again. he's playing the next seven gigs w/us. we talk about all the troubles right now. edward is a very aware cat and he's sad too about the hell wrought w/violence everywhere. we both agree that there needs to be separation between the pilots and passengers on planes - busses too! fucked up. what can we really say? I give him big hugs and tell him I love him much and glad he's here. edward's bro kelly arrives. great to see him again - must be like ten years since we saw each other last. he lives here and sells waterbeds. edward has a great family, I dig his parents much too. they live in durham, north carolina now. finally, joel shows up and we soundcheck quick w/soundman jeff. he's a funny cat. then it's to the boat for me and I konk in the minus twenty bag.
I hear the last part of edward's band, _grand national_ through the boat's bulkhead (we're parked right next to where the stage is) and him and his peeps sound great. jer comes to roust me. I grab the shirts - not much left, maybe only enough for here and phily - nyc might miss out though I'm getting some sent to hoboken the next night. I kind of underestimated things. thanks folks. ten o'clock - early gig - great! the stage is real tiny, I keep hitting the tuners of my little bass on jer's cymbals and get thrown out of tune. I don't space and we do "anxious mo-fo" tonight. jer told me I've zoned and skipped it the last two gigs - damn, I wasn't even aware of that. shows where my head's at sometimes. the stage volume is really blasting, especially the cymbals - damn. I bring edward on to do "walking the cow" and "the red and the black." we need to put his amp on a chair next time cuz I can't hear him hardly. what I do hear though is wailing - alright edward! the only bummer of the night really is when we first started the set, the tv above the bar was showing all this war shit. it's upsetting me and hard to get the music thing together. I ask if we can please have that off while we work up here, just a little break - that's all. the folks at the pad here comply and things are better. thank you much. we get an encore and I bring edward on for the two fIREHOSE songs we do. the spirit of this pittsburgh crowd is very happening and it's great playing for them. I sign a couple of autographs for folks who are having birthdays - both are thirty tonight. I tell them that one day they might not be so eager to celebrate them. naw, I shouldn't be that way. it's a miracle if you make another circuit of the seasons and that's reason enough to be glad. the getting older thing is just nature and her ways.
I start slinging afterwards. damn, if I didn't forget to ask for a pad we can park the boat at safe and then konk. I ask at the last minute after most cats have bailed. there's a lady who offers, bless her - her name is amber. we pack up and she comes w/us to her and her husband's pad twenty miles east in oakmont. david, her husband couldn't come cuz their little girl is sick and didn't want to be w/grandma. there's priorities in this life and I totally understand. his bud went though and called from the gig while we did "...cow." david's very emotional as he explains how him and his little girl listened to the message of us playing from the club. such a nice thing to hear from him, it touches me very deeply. thank you very much, david. I tell him some old stories about being a younger punk rocker - he knows quite a bit about my music life, so I fill in some gaps. I tell him john coltrane is my inspiration these days on a lot of levels. he's a sweetheart and puts some trane on the stereo. lights out, mask down and I'm riding that train (trane) to sleepytown. big thankyous, david.
read week 3 of the tour diary
read week 5 of the tour diary
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